Robert “Bob” Givens, a key figure in animation, died Dec. 14 in Burbank from acute respiratory failure. He was 99.
His daughter, Mariana Givens, president of Platinum Pathways in California, confirmed the news on her Facebook page and to the Associated Press.
During his career, which spanned over 60 years, Givens worked for the likes of Disney, Warner Bros., Hanna-Barbera and more. In 1937 he started work for Disney as an animation checker on Donald Duck and Snow White cartoons.
In 1940 he moved to Warner Bros., where he was widely known for working on the redesign of a character that would come to be known as Bugs Bunny. According to Animation Magazine, “One of Givens’ biggest career moments came in 1940, when Tex Avery asked him to review designs of a new character — a grey rabbit that was coming across ‘too cute’ for the slapstick cartoons. Givens went on to create the first official design for Bugs Bunny, now the iconic lead character of the Looney Tunes franchise, in the Merrie Melodies short A Wild Hare.” Givens also illustrated characters such as Tom & Jerry, Daffy Duck, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Popeye.
After a stint in the army during WWII, Givens returned to the studio to work mainly as a layout artist for various directors.
He’s also known for his work as a storyboard artist on the TV series Linus! The Lion Hearted and as a graphic designer on the show Baggy Pants & the Nitwits.